Nobody doubts that CSU and all Colorado state schools are facing
financial hardships, many of which are either partially or directly
a result of TABOR, the Taxpayers Bill of Rights, which sets limits
on the amount of money a state agency can spend and collect,
One solution, which has now been proposed twice, is to pass
legislation turning universities into enterprise operations, which
would allow them to raise tuition as if they were any other
business in state.
The University of Colorado-Boulder tried to get legislation
passed last March to designate themselves as an enterprise, but was
shot down when Gov. Bill Owens expressed his disapproval saying it
gave the school too much wide-open range over raising tuition and
that it should apply to more schools.
The newest piece of legislation would designate all public
higher education as an enterprise while still maintaining some
state control over how much tuition can go up.
The editorial board believes this newest edition of the bill is
a great improvement over last spring, and not only because this way
it will help CSU as well as our favorite neighbors. Gov. Owens’
concern over giving universities the ability to raise tuition
without any legislative oversight could quickly allow public
education to become less accessible to lower-income students.
Sure, we would hope our universities would be responsible enough
to keep tuition rates under control, but if they had free reign the
chance that every budget woe would result in a tuition spike seems
We have public universities for a reason, and the legislature
should be able to maintain some control over tuition rates. But the
fact is universities are facing a decline in quality due to state
cuts in funding, and perhaps enterprise status with qualifications
like those proposed in this bill could be the answer.